Court reporters perform a vital role in the justice system, so they definitely deserve more respect from the community. However, a Fort Lauderdale court reporter shared that they often do not receive this treatment because many people believe they are glorified secretaries. Sadly, this misconception stems from what everyday people see from courtroom dramas. In these stories, court reporters sit quietly in a corner, seemingly doing nothing else but type.
As a result, many people believe that court reporters do not hold much responsibility at all. However, what many do not see is the backbreaking work that court reporters do outside the courtroom. Without them, hearings, depositions, and trials will be postponed. Why? Because a court reporter’s presence proves crucial or the legal process shall become incomplete. If you still believe that court reporters do nothing but type, it’s high time to quash these erroneous thoughts. Keep on reading to see why court reporters deserve respect from everyone.
Hold Good Credentials to Practice the Profession
A Fort Lauderdale court reporter affirmed that their job only appears easy on TV. However, in reality, they face difficulties because the physical task of reporting everything that’s said during proceedings requires special skills. Court reporters need to undergo the following to practice:
- Must type a minimum of 225 words per minute
- Should master steno theory
- Learn about legal proceedings and technical jargon
- Undergo several years of education and training
- Go through licensing, certification, and accreditation
Contrary to popular belief, a normal secretary cannot be a court reporter. You must first do a court reporting program or get an associate degree in this field to practice. On top of that, a veteran Fort Lauderdale court reporter said they must undergo continuous training. They must attend the following throughout their career:
- Extra courses
- Organization affiliation
These serve as testaments that court reporters are dedicated to honing their crafts. If you still believe they merely type, these points should convince you to change your thoughts. Court reporters need to amass substantial on-the-job experience to ensure they stay on top of their game.
Work in High Pressured Work Environment
Even if you are not a lawyer or judge, you will know that the courtroom setting feels tense and stressful. For example, a Fort Lauderdale court reporter noted that it could be very difficult to come to work knowing that you will listen to people who disagree with one another. Many times, they have to deal with lawyers who talk over each other. At times, there are even interpreters that can make their job more difficult than ever.
Moreover, court reporters must be neutral arbitrators in depositions and other proceedings. No matter how oppressive the issue is, a court reporter cannot take sides. Unfortunately, legal counsels often exert a lot of pressure on them when they document words that come out of the witness’ mouth. Sometimes, they make difficult decisions about what the witness said in real-time, only to be contested by one party.
In addition, court reporters encounter moments when they have to make choices about conversations, especially if one party demands that it stays off record. They can end up in a bind and keep documenting until both parties agree that things must stay off the record. Unfortunately, this part of their training often means that they will irritate the party that made the request. Thus, a Fort Lauderdale court reporter said people in their profession must have inner strength and strong self-confidence because at least one lawyer nearby shall be dissatisfied with their actions.
Put in a Lot of Work Outside the Courtroom
Court reporters deserve respect because their jobs prove physically demanding. You may see them lagging around equipment cases or traveling to certain areas to take testimonies. They often travel for work, too, to document statements. Many times, they make sacrifices so they can be ready for attorneys and clients who suddenly have to attend a deposition. Often, these meetings go on without meal breaks because counsels want to rush and avoid reconvening the next day. This exerts undue pressure on the court reporters, who must readily provide transcripts at the fastest time possible.
On top of that, completing reports takes a lot of time and effort. Contrary to popular belief, the bulk of a court reporter’s work happens off the courtroom. A veteran Fort Lauderdale court reporter noted that work continues after they finish transcribing in the courtroom or other legal proceedings. After they finish typing with the steno machine, they have to polish up everything in a report format. They need to make sure to do the following:
- Pay close attention to details to avoid mistakes.
- Check for spelling mistakes, punctuation, and other typo errors.
- Edit the flow of the work for ease of reading.
- Format the documents and make copies
Once the copy has been finalized, the court reporter must file an official copy in court. Later on, the reporter furnishes a copy for all the parties involved. A Fort Lauderdale court reporter also said that they must be available any time to answer questions about the transcripts or assist in the legal process whenever they can.
Carry the Burden of the Job Alone
Court reporters take their jobs seriously. As impartial witnesses of the case, they cannot discuss their work with any other people. Doing so may compromise the outcome of the case. They have to protect the confidentiality of the information they hear. In this instance, it can be burdensome to carry the load alone on their shoulders.
Unlike other professions where you can discuss how terrible a client is, court reporters cannot do that. On top of that, they often get the brunt of the anger of lawyers who lose their patience when there’s a machine breakdown, and the proceedings stop. Many people within the courtroom take their services for granted.
However, in reality, court reporters remain a valuable asset in the litigation process as much as lawyers, witnesses, the judge, and the jury. Court reporters uphold the bastion of lady justice, serving an important role in the system. They definitely deserve more respect and credit as they perform an important job under such difficult and highly pressurized working conditions.